Date
23 July 2019
Telegram CEO Pavel Durov said the cyber attack was “state actor-sized” and “coincided with protests in Hong Kong”. Photo: Reuters
Telegram CEO Pavel Durov said the cyber attack was “state actor-sized” and “coincided with protests in Hong Kong”. Photo: Reuters

Telegram hit by ‘China’ cyber attack during Admiralty clashes

Instant messaging app Telegram said cyber attacks from mainland China had tried to paralyze its system on Wednesday night while it was being used for communication by protesters opposing the extradition bill during a massive protest in Admiralty.

Telegram, which boasts an encryption technology for enhanced protection of user privacy, said it suffered a “powerful” Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, a kind of cyber attack in which hackers flood a company’s network with high volumes of traffic from various sources, thereby denying the service to regular users.

Pavel Durov, the company’s chief executive, said on Twitter that the massive junk requests came “mostly from China”, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

The company said the requests flooded its system at a speed of 200 to 400 gigabytes per second.

Describing the cyber attack as “state actor-sized”, Durov said the incident “coincided with protests in Hong Kong”.

Telegram was able to stabilize the system around 8 p.m.

When asked about Durov’s claim that China was the origin of the attack, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said he was not aware of the incident, Agence France-Presse reported.

“What I can tell you here is that China has always opposed any form of cyber-attacks. China is also a victim of cyber-attacks,” Geng was quoted as saying at a regular press briefing on Thursday.

It is understood that many of the protesters in Admiralty preferred to use Telegram to coordinate their actions.

The cloud-based mobile app, which is available for both Android and iOS phones, is considered highly secure when it comes to protecting the privacy of chat messages.

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TL/JC/CG

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